Marketing to Market driven

On the road last week I completely missed Constantine Von Hoffman’s BrandWeek piece Are Marketers dying on Second Life. Google Alerts brought a post from Eric Kintz, EVP Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for HP, titled Top 10 reasons as to why I still need to be convinced about marketing on Second Life. Both are recommended reading before going any further. Done? Great.

Eric is happy to be proven wrong and would love to get some feedback. So here goes. First lets start with a simple answer to Constantine’s post. Yes marketers are dying on Second Life. In their droves. Like lemmings over a cliff. Now lets look at why they are dying. Funny thing is Eric has many of the answers within his post. So let me revisit it.

Your first line I have been analyzing Second Life for months and closing line I barely have time for my first life…… speaks volumes. You can analyze it until the cows come home Eric but until you spend time in world you are never going to figure out what Second Life is all about. To do so you need to come and live here for a while.

I really believe that Second Life is another example of a web 2.0 property that marketers should explore and understand. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Eric but Second Life has nothing to do with the second wave of the web we are in but all to do with the third wave of the web where we are heading.

The technology is still too complex. Not sure if you ever went back and read the comments to Steve Rubel’s post. If not then checkout what Jeremy Pepper, Laura Thomas and Nic Cubrilovic have to say. All are residents of SL who spend quiet a bit of time inworld unlike Steve. Also the performance issues are more server side than client side. That is not to say there are not client side problems but thats a different conversation.

The model is not scaleable. Correct. Not very exciting for a 20th century marketing driven brand model but perfect for a market driven living brand of the 21st century. Welcome to the future. Your sandbox awaits you to learn what that means.

The subscriber numbers are misleading. Perhaps to the uninformed but a quick conversation with any long term resident of SL would have informed you of the realities of the numbers. Go back and read point four.

The model’s scaleability is further threatened by a corporate IT backlash. Does HP have any direct or indirect vested interest with Sophos making this happen? Just seems a very strange statement for you to make given your position.

The content is primarily adult orientated. Just as with the early days of the Web adult orientated material is present experimenting alongside other early adopters. Were you around then? If not chat to some of your peers who were. It all worked out ok then and will all workout ok now.

Brands are underestimating the investments required. Part underestimated, part uneducated and part uninterested. Not only the investment in financial terms but in participatory terms. The third wave of the Web – the Living Web – requires living brands.

Brands are not staying true to the Second Life values. Many of the sherpas who brought clients into Second Life are as much to blame of this as their clients. Again this is a whole other conversation for another time.

Second Life experiences are not integrated with the overall brand experience. Lovely word experience. Some are good. Some are bad. All are experiences. As to aligning and connecting we are back to the 20th century marketing driven v 21st century market driven meme.

Potential revenues and profits are limited. If organizations are going to learn how to make the transition from being marketing lead to market lead then Second Life presents a great opportunity to do so. Expecting to realize revenues and profits today is extremely short sighted relative to the learning opportunities currently to hand within Second Life.

More than happy to show you around sometime Eric as are many others who have taken up residence in Second Life. Get away from all the Web 2.0 noise and turn off the twister chasers for a while. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you find. Onwards.

UPDATE : Rodica at MOU, Nick Wilson at Metaversed and Wagner James Au join the conversation

UPDATE 2 : Joseph Jaffe at Crayon and Greg Verdino at Digitas join the conversation

UPDATE 3 : Linda ZimmerTodd Zeigler and Karl Long join the conversation